National Geographic : 1991 Jun
THE PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON THE Education Foundation An Excellent Report Card for Geography Teachers he good news is coming in from all over the United States: Geography is making a comeback. David Geyer, geography teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana, tells us that during the past two years, enrollment in geography classes at his school has jumped from 60 to 350 students. "We had to add 14 classes to meet the demand," says David, a 1988 graduate of the Society's Summer Geography Institute. In Colorado Springs, Colorado, social studies coordinator Kathryn Lapp reports that the number of world geography classes being offered to high school seniors has rocketed from 5 to 29. Schools in Frederick County, Maryland, this fall will offer geography as a sepa rate course for the first time in 20 years, says Sari Bennett, a geography professor at the Univer sity of Maryland, Baltimore County. A great deal of credit for this renaissance belongs to the Geo graphic Alliance Network, a collec tion of grass roots organizations bringing together academic geogra phers, teachers from many disci plines, and others dedicated to improving geography instruction. These extraordinary volunteer educators have responded to the alliance initiated by the National Geographic Society. Now active in 40 states and Puerto Rico, alliances sponsor geography workshops for teachers, develop classroom materi als, lead public-awareness activities, and work with local, state, and national leaders to reform curricula. Training programs have reached tens of thousands of teachers. "It has changed my professional life, my department's activities, and the teaching methods of many teach ers," says Michael Libbee, a geogra phy professor at Central Michigan University and a coordinator of the Michigan Geographic Alliance. Patricia Hardy, a high school rates taking part in the Geographic Alliance Ne are shown in red. The latest additions are Iov iansas, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, rming, along with Puerto Rico. Can you locate teacher and member of the Texas Alliance, has been appointed to the state's Educational Economic Policy Committee, whose goal is to estab lish an Education Policy Center. She is in an excellent position to apply the advocacy skills she learned at the National Geographic Instruc tional Leadership Institute in 1989. Begun in 1986 with seven alli ances in six states, the network now boasts an active membership of some 63,000 people-all working together to show that geography is an important tool for responsible citizenship, environmental aware ness, and political understanding. We at the Society have always believed that teachers are the key to revitalizing geography, and our support for them has been richly rewarded. We will continue to assist the alliances as they keep growing, but they must also have the con tinued support of members and friends. The return to our nation is certainly worth the investment. *4-€ THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETYEDUCATIONFOUNDATIONWAS ESTABLISHEDIN 1988 TO HELP RAISEANDDISTRIBUTEFUNDSFOR EDUCATIONALANDSCIENTIFICPROGRAMS.